Monday 16th April
Woke to hear and read lots of Social Media complaining about last nights woeful Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony. In fact all the day time TV talk shows condemned it. By the evening news the organisers could no longer hide behind their implausible reasoning. Even the State Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk weighed in and criticised the ceremony or lack of it. I was personally affronted by the fact that,
- The program was organised by an American company and not by Australians. Is this a case of the cheapest quote being accepted rather than being granted to an Australian organiser of which we have several world class people right here in Queensland.
- There was too much singing and dancing and there was no volume to the singing making it difficult to hear. The dancing was repetitious to the point of wondering how long can this go on? Most of the music was unknown to most people.
- A 15 minute boring video of the next games location in Birmingham appears to be an advertisement for the gay community. There was nothing about athletitism in the video. It was all about signing and dancing in front of a few landmarks. All dancers were in colourful costume with boys dressed as girls and vice versa.
- Athletes were not seen marching into the stadium and not given the rousing reception they are entitled to. They were hidden from view.
- The Australian Flag Bearer, Kurt Fearnley was not seen.
Tonight, on the news, the Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk commented she had heard that a volunteer party organised for Saturday 21st where the volunteers are expected to bring their own, food, drink, chairs and blankets. On top of that there is no parking so only public transport is available. Can you imagine trying to lug an esky with food and drink, a chair and perhaps a pillow and blanket on public transport then another 800 metre walk to enter through only two gates? She has promised that her Government will ensure free food and drink will be supplied. That is good news and will probably ensure the large numbers of volunteers who were originally going to boycott proceedings will now attend.
Tuesday 17th April.
The rest of the month seems to be rushing at us. We leave for Canada and USA on 1st May and I am beginning to feel a bit underprepared. Today I organised a Travel Card and some real US and Canadian dollars. Our air tickets are paid and printed. Our Amtrak Train tickets are also paid and printed. Our three internal flights within Canada are also paid and printed. Out hotels in Niagara Falls CAN are booked as well as a hotel in Mississauga near Toronto Airport. I still have to book a car at Niagara and we are all done.
Saturday 21st April
Right from the very beginning of my journey with the Commonwealth Games, volunteers were called Games Shapers.
This afternoon and evening was a Games Shaper Party.
Donnis and I caught the bus to Southport and joined the hundreds of other volunteers walking to the Broadwater Parklands for the big party.
First we had to run the gauntlet of security then queue to obtain our free meal and ice cream tickets and free bottled water. WTF!!! The free meal ticket was only given to the volunteer. Our invited guest got nothing….well I suppose an ice cream and a bottle of water is a bit more than nothing. The three meal tickets I was given were worth $5 each. Most meals were between $11 to $16. So, if I bought a meal valued at $14 and handed over three tickets worth $15 there was no change given.
We arrived on-time and were amazed at how full the park seemed to be. In the next hour the numbers swelled and the small space around us got smaller as more people arrived.
Not long after we arrived and received our tickets we found fellow driver Ross.
Ross called and told us we would find him in the park and he would be wearing a yellow and blue shirt to stand out in the crowd. Yeah Ross, everybody in the crowd was wearing a yellow and blue shirt. Oh said Ross well I am wearing blue shorts, white ankle socks and white sneakers. Hahhahaha. Good one Ross. About 97% of the crowd was wearing the official uniform which included the blue shorts, white ankle socks and white sneakers. Before us was a sea of people dressed in blue shorts, blue and yellow shirt, white ankle socks and white sneakers.
We spread a blanket and wished we had chairs and were pleased we didn’t. Just lugging a bum bag or back pack was enough. Carry a chair each on the bus then a 1 Klm walk was more effort than we wanted tonight.
There were a couple of bands.
There were lots of speeches by various dignitaries and speeches by athletes and interviews of volunteers. They all told us how great we are. Nay they said we were fantastic. They said it often. Chairman, Peter Beattie was there. He gave a good speech, considering as chairman he accepted the blame for the bad closing ceremony. He went up in my assessment. It’s a pity those really responsible did not put their hands up and admit they were wrong. Later I joined a queue of people who wanted to be photographed with Peter Beattie. Although I did not take my camera or phone with me I explained all I wanted to do was shake hands with “the boss”.
At a guess I would say there were several thousand people in attendance most wearing the yellow and blue shirt.
After sitting on the ground for a couple of hours became uncomfortable. Time to leave early and get the bus home before the fireworks began and before thousands of other people left at the same time. Lots of volunteers had the same idea.
As we arrived on the bus at Harbourtown we could hear the fireworks at Broadwater Park some 7 Klms away.
Sunday 22nd April.
As I write this we have 8 more days and nights before we wing it to Canada. It is time we unpacked our winter clothes and sort through what we want for the trip.